Full text of "Poems"
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Baron Zach, Astronomer to his Serene Highness the Duke
of Saxe Gotha
THE TEARS OF COIL A.
And wear thou this, (she solemn said,)
And bound the Holly round my head : *
The clustering leaves and berries red
Did rustling play ;
Then, like a passing thought, she fled
In light away.
, Vision by Burnjt^^
The midnight hour was come — that solemn hour
When they, the forms divine, whose mystic lay
Breathes not to mortal ear, on earth have power
Till bright Astarte's lingering fires decay :
,Fairies and Genii, hovering o'er the earth,
Now downward bend their flight, and in the glen,
Or ruined tower, pursue their frolic mirth,
Joining in airy dance unseen of men :
Whilst others, far above the rest in place^
Kind guardian spirits of the human race,
Intent on good to man, forsake the sky,
And their bright form^disclose to many a gifted eye.
But each, and all of this aerial train,
Fulfil some end, obey some high behest,
All, save one beauteous Maid, whose plaintive strain
Told the deep anguish of her throbbing breast :
'Twas Coik,-^who, beneath the witching beam
Of night's pale Planet, mourned her Poet dead:
Sad she reclined by Ayr*s romantic stream.
Downcast her eye, and all its lustre fled :
The Moon's faint ray stole thro' the breaking cloud,
And the hoarse angry winds were heard aloud,
Whilst Ayr's sad murmurs due accordance kept,
As by his troubled stream she pensive sat, and wept.
No mantle now, enrichM with various hues,
Bespoke with graceful pomp the Scottish Muse ;
But, dark as her sad thoughts, the mournful Maid
In robes of solemn black her form arrayed.
Thrown o'er a broken harp her arm appears,
(That harp still wet with Coila's bitter tears,)
And, fallen from her fair hand, a circlet green
Half hid beneath her sable veil was seen.
The night-breeze slowly waved her golden hair,
As thus she mourned in deep despair
The early fate, the fortunes hard,
Of Burns, " her own inspired Bard."
" Oh harp, (she cried,) whose potent tone
" Shall ne'er again awakened be ;
" Ne'er speak of joy, nor with thy master moan,
" Responsive to his soul's despondency :
" Oh never more, on Scotia's galea/
*' Thy melody shall steal along,
" Oh never more her flowery vales
" Re-echo to her Poet's song.
" Filled with true poetic fire,
" Oft did his lofty lay to heaven aspire ;
*^ And when with daring hand thy chords he swept,
" Notes entrancing, sweet and strong,
" Answered to his various song ;
" The witching strain
" Subdued each pain^
" And grief no longer wept.
" E'en when the swelling sound was past,
" That bore the soul to heaven ;
" When mournful, tremulous, and low,
" Strains of sadness stole along,
*' To thee, swe€t Bard, alike 'twas given
" To charm, when flowed the mirthful song,
" When na4;ive Wit thy cares beguiled,
" And frolic Humour gaily smiled,
^' Or when subdued, and sad, the broken accents flow:
" For sweet, the* mournful, was the sound,
" That, breathing soft around,
" Told the deep pang of recojlected voe^
^* Ah why must Anguish ever wait
" Upon the gifts the Muse bestows ?
^' Why ever thus relentless Fate
*^ To feeling hearty bring keenest woes I
'* Is it to check the swelling pride,
'* Which soaring Genius, heaven-allied,
i' Might haply feel, if mortal pain
^' Sunk not the daring soul to earth and care again ?
'* Oh Bard beloved, no power had I
** To check the bitter-rising sigh ;
" I could not chase the fiend Despair,
" Nor break the spells of worldly care,
" That wrapped thy soul in gloom ;
*' I could not give thee wealth, or power,
" Nor e'en protract the fated hour,
" That closed thy early tomb :
" With sparkling wit I decked thy line,
*' Thy gift, to move the heart, was mine j
" Yet more thy genius to reward,
*' And fondly prove my true regard,
ic #Xhis Holly wreath I gave:
*' Mysterious boon, thou ne'er shalt fade,
" Ne'er wither in oblivion's shade,
" But high in ' Fame's bright fane* by Nature placed,
^' Near that which once the Bard of Avon graced,
* Vision by Burns.
*' Still shalt thou bloom, and, 'mid the wintry storm,
" That vainly seeks thy blossoms to deform,
" Crowned with eternal verdure, proudly wave."
Oh ! heard ye not the sighing gale.
That fans the twilight grove! \
And heard ye not the plaintive v^^aiJ,
That tells of blighted love!
'Tis Edith, who at blushing morn
Still seeks her lover's tomb;
Who there will weep and sigh forlorn
Till day is lost in gloom.
And now as swells the rising gale
The love-notes come more nigh;
The breeze, enamoured of the tale,
Repays it with a sigh.
" Why is the hand of death so strong ?
*' So deep my Love's repose ?
" Thy sleep, my Owen, hath been long,
" And long thy Edith's woes.
" Twelve moons have poured their silver light
" Since I began to weep;
" Another moon shall rise to night,
" And yet will Owen sleep ?
" And if, as sacred lore has said,
" So long we watch and pray,
" Shall virgin hymns awake the dead^
" And call them back to day .
** And now-^— but ah ! what sounds arise,
" And load the sullen blast !
*' Does, Owen hear his Edith's cries?
" Oh I comes my Love at last r
" I come/' exclaimed a voice of woe,
While deeper hung the gloom ;
" But who with fatal haste would know
" The secrets of the tomb ?"
" And does not Owen know that voice ?
" Oh ! once to him how dear !
*' Or does he not approve the choice
" That called his Edith here?
" I come to share thy loved embrace,
*' And to thy heart be prest ;
" Once more to view thy manly face,
" And, gazing, die—how blest !
" Oh ! is not love as strong as death ?
" And does not fate allow ?
" Then on thy lips my hallowed breath
" Shall seal my virgin vow."
" Tis thine, the dire mysterious boon,"
Replied the dreadful voice :
" When night has gained her solemn noon,
" Then take thy desperate choice."
Long the moist turf in deep despair
The frantic Edith prest ;
And long the night-dews gemmed her hair,
And chilkd her aching breast.
The thunder pealed, and from below
A sullen murmur stole,
And, more than mortal plaint of woe,
Appalled the maiden's soul.
Red darts the lightning through the gloom,
The blast of midnight blows.
Whilst slowly from the yawning tomb
Jts shrouded tenant rose.
His lip was pale, and cold his cheek,
Where roses wont to move;
And his fixed eyes no longer speak
The eloquence of love.
" Tis thine, (he cried,) ill fated Maid,
'* To break the sleep of death ;
'' The spell that calls thy Lover's shade,
" The same demands thy breath.
*' The flash of phrenzy comes too late,
*' That fires thy starting eye ;
" A kiss you sought-^that kiss is fate--
*' To feel it, is to die."
His shadowy arms he opened wide.
And clasped the trembling Maid ;
Freezing she feels life's crimson tide.
Her cheek's scared roses fade.
She tried to speak — the Spectre frowned.
And waved his grisly arm ;
Beneath him yawned the rocking ground,
WhiJe Fate fulfilled the charm.
The lightning flashed— the thunder rolled-
While sunk the beckoning shade ;
And minstrel legends since have told.
No more was seen the Mald«
ADDRESSED TO AN AMIABLE YOUNG LADY ON PRESENTING
HER WITH SOME VIOLETS.
Accept, sweet Anne, the gift 1 bring.
The first fair promise of the year;
Meek children of the early Spring,
When fresh her opening buds appear :
An offering meet from those who own
No cultured garden*s flowery pride ;
To whom wild Nature's gifts atone
For those which Fate has long denied.
Still Fancy, to the musing mind,
That fondly hails her shadowy power,
Some speaking emblem loves to find
In every plant and budding flower.
Let Glory claim the laurel grove,
Which smiles 'mid Winter's chilling saovrs;
And still upon thy altar, Love,
Be placed the faintly-blushing rose,
Alas ! that Glory's wreath appears
So deeply tinged with sanguine hue ;
Or, stained with Sorrow's blighting tears,
Fades fast beneath the deadly dew.
E*en the fair rose, whose opening breast
Breathes of the balmy airs of morn.
Too rashly to the bosom prest,
Wounds deep with many a rankling thorn.
Be mine to haunt the fairy dell.
Where violets breathe their sweet perfume;
To weave Affection's gentler spell,
With flowers that boast a thornless bloom.
To Friendship's shrine the buds I bear,
Rich in their deep unchanging blue ;
Or, (as pure faith I would declare,)
Entwined with those of virgin hue.
Think then these blossoms, gentle Fair,
My true esteem would fain impart,
And should you deign the gift to wear.
Ah ! place the Giver near your heart.
Keen blows the piercing midnight gale
On this sad cheek, with grief so pale ;
Chill rain-drops on my bosom fall,
Yet still I seek yon castle wall.
Ah ! could its Lord my anguish see,
Would he not breathe one sigh for me ?
Fond memory, cease that form to trace,
That gentle look, that winning grace :
Still, still he wears the same sweet smile.
That did my foolish heart beguile ;
But sadly now that smile I see.
For ah! it beams no more on me.
He weds a lady rich and great,
And thinks not of his Ellen's fate,
Heeds not the blight that chills her heart,
And bids her hopes, her life depart :
Yet, lovely lady, happy be
With him who thinks no more of me.
The church-yard's lonely path I seek.
Pale Fear no more can blanch my cheek :
There, where my father's ashes sleep,
Alone I love to muse and weep.
I love to think yon midnight moon.
With waning ray, may light me soon
To that calm spot, where yet shall be
A long, long night of rest for me.
I dread no more the baleful dew.
Fast falling from the deadly yew.
The " mourner yew," whose branches bend
O'er thy low grave, my only friend.
Oh could it cool the feverish pain
That racks the heart and burns the brain.
Spring's perfumed showers would never be
So welcome or so sweet to me.
Fair was the night, the air was still,
The moonlight valley distant lay.
When Donald climbed the weary hill,
To seek his Love — so far away.
He thinks not of the hours of toil
That wait him at approaching day ;
He thinks but of the witching smile
Of Janet — now so far away.
He hies him down the haunted brake,
No wizard spell his speed can stay ;
He flies — the tender kiss to take.
That lured his steps so far away.
SONNET TO EVENING.
Come, holy hour, to inspiration given ;
I love thy gentle dews, thy silver light,
When doubtful shadows veil the face of Heaven,
And silence rests upon the breast of night ;
Save when at intervals she startled flies,
Waked by some magic lute, or thrilling lay, '
Till the soft sounds regain their native skies.
And melody's sweet notes have died away.
Nor less thy balmy, perfumed breath I hail.
Which scarce th'emboweringfoliageseemstomove,
And love to catch, as dies the rustling gale,
The whispered vow, or sigh of restless love,
c 3 ^ ^
The dancing moon-beam kissed the deep,
And Zephyr breathed his sweetest sigh,
When Mary, from the rocky steep.
Watched the white sail that glided by.
The sparkling wave, that dashed along,
And bore on high its snowy crest,
With hoarse and deeply-murmured song,
Had soothed the woes in Mary's breast.
Blest orb ! she said, with tearful eye,
Whose beams yon foamy ocean streak,
Thy modest ray, more blest than I,
Oh ! plays it now on Henry's cheek r
And thou, too swiftly passing wave,
Thou near my love mayest quickly be,
Then will thy glittering waters lave
The bark that bore him far from me ?
The Christian bands in order move,
And martial pilgrims throng the strand.
When Henry leaves his plighted love,
For deadly strife in Syrian land.
Pale grew the crescent's waning light,
And Paynims fled at Henry's name ;
The red-cross, like a meteor bright,
Streamed o'er the path that led to fame;
But ah ! the day of battle o'er.
He meets his weeping love no more ;
War's crimson banners darkly wave
O'er Syria's sands, and Henry's grave.
When smiling Hope, devoid of art,
Gilt childhood's early morn,
How little dreamed my simple heart
That ever it should mourn ! •
Friend of my careless, happy youth.
Low bending o'er thy urn.
My heart was then first taught this truth,
It was but formed to mourn.
The flowery bands Affection wove.
By cold Indifference torn.
Have since oft bade my bosom prove,
How keenly it can mourn.
Hope blooms to die, and friends depart,
Ah ! never to return ; •
Then cease to beat, fond foolish heart,
And thou shalt cease to mourn.
SONG OF ARIEL.
Awake, awake, ye echoes wild !
Ye caverns deep my lay prolong !
Tis Ariel, Fancy's dearest child.
That wooes you to repeat his song.
No more the slave of magic power,
Swift fly the moments blithe and free ;
And still I hail the happy hour
Which gave me joy and liberty.
In coral groves I gaily sport.
Hid in the bosom of the deep.
Where Neptune holds his festive court,
And sea-nymphs jocund revels keep :
Or through the pathless fields of air
Swifter than thought I wing my way ;
To wild and distant climes repair,
Where mortal wight did never stray.
Oft have I plucked near Tenglio's stream
The blushing roses there that grow,
Or watched pale Cynthia's silver beam
Trembling on Lapland's hills of snow.
Then when she sheds her chastened day
O'er plains in frozen fetters bound,
And the soft star of eve her ray
Lends to light the fairy round,
I've sought Titania's crystal bower,
Where the light Fays obedient bring,
Mocking dull winter's icy power,
The choicest flowers of blooming spring.
But when the howling blast blows loud
And dark the misty vapours rise,
Then floating on the passing cloud
1 hail the sun in happier skies.
Ere timid man had dared descry
The shores that bound the western main,
When evening breathed her softest sigh,
I've hied me to its wildest plain ;
Beneath the tall magnolia's shade
Have poured the soul of music round.
Whilst breezes breathing sweetness strayed,
And stole away the witching sound.
As stretched the slumbering Indian lies
Beneath the shade of waving groves,
Softly I breathe in plaintive sighs
The magic name of her he loves.
Starting he wakes— but ah ! the strain
Has died upon the breeze away ;
And Fancy's power he wooes in vain
To bring again the melting lay.
The sun's last smile has gilt the wave,
The bright reflection slowly fades ;
Each tint, that golden radiance gave.
Sinks fast in evening's envious shades.
I go to join the heavenly throng,
Who tune their magic harps on high,
To pour with them the thrilling song,
In notes of softest harmony.
INSERTED IN THE NOVEL OF DELAVAL.
Then teach me, ah ! teach me that pang to subdue,
Which passion imposes, and reason disdains;
Bid memory no more the dear image renew,
Which awakens my torments, and rivets my chains.
Ah ! teach me for ever to chase from my soul
The wild visions which fancy and feeling inspire;
This heart's strong pulsations let prudence control,
Subdued be its fervor, extinguished its fire. .
And thou too, oh Pleasure ! fair goddess, be near.
Bid the magic of harmony breathe thro' the grove ;
And Beauty's soft hand from my cheek dry the tear,
The fond tear, still devoted to Rosa and love.
Yet say, how can beauty my anguish beguile!
Or music's soft charm teach my heart to rejoice !
When pity's own angel might borrow her smile,
And the spirit of melody hves in her voice !
No — the traces can never be worn from my brain
Whilst my soul has reflection,ray bosomhas breath;
I must love while existence and reason remain,
Since forgetfulness comes but with frenzy or death.
The hapless wretch, whom fortune's hat«
Has doomed with weary step to rove.
Torn by the ruthless hand of fate,
From all his heart had learned to love;
First exiled from his native home,
How oft he turns that home to viewi
And, driven in distant lands to roam,
How slow he breathes his last adieu \
On some lone spot he lingering stands,
While brightly shines the evening star,
And, bathed in tears, with outstretched hands,
Looks on his cot that smokes afar.
Should then some spire, or rising hill,
Too well remembered, meet his eye,
What heightened griefs his bosom fill !
How saddened is his parting sigh !
Objects that ne'er before were dear.
When from those objects doomed to part.
Wring from his eyes the starting tear,
And cling around his aching heart.
I, like that weary exile, stray.
And often turn my glistening eye.
To mark along my mournful way
The flowers that only bloomed to die.
Though scanty was the store of bliss
To me by partial fate assigned ;
Rich in content, I did not miss
The splendid joys that lure mankind :
And though my lip did ne'er aspire
To taste the rich Pierian spring,
To me unknown the Muse of fire,
Who soars aloft on eagle wing:
Yet my weak strain would oft beguile
The hours of pain a parent knew;
Then on my path would Friendship smile,
While round it Hope her radiance threw.
But now my song is mixed with sighs,
Unheard my lute's sad melody,
Cold in her grave that parent lies.
And friends remote are dead to me.
Imagination, parent fair
Of those sweet forms that won my heart ;
Fancy and Hope, ye radiant pair.
Will your blest dreams with them depart!
Must never more my footsteps stray
Amid your bowers, and jocund train f
Will ne'er again your magic lay
Steal from my soul the sense of pain?
Yes — still with fond regret I turn
Your fading visions to renew;
And still your simple pleasures mourn,
So pure, but ah ! so brief, and few.
Again shall light my tearful eye
The scenes that now cannot deceive,
Which Fancy, daughter of the sky,
Drew on the fleeting cloud of eve :
Yet Hope's delusions still I hail,
Still fondly on her anchor rest ;
Tho' soon the breaking prop may fail,
And^ faithless, pierce my trusting breast..
The brightest cloud that decks the western skies
The flatterer Hope her mimic canvas chose,
Bade pictured dreams of future bliss arise,
And stole from memory all her treasured woes.
Gay were the forms her ready pencil drew,
(Such forms she fondly thought would never fade,)
Whilst Youth enchanted threw a warmer hue
O'er the soft shadows by her hand pourtrayed.
I turned the fairy scene again to view,
With radiant Fancy's richest tints imprest;
But night's dark shade, with cold unwholesome dew,
Alone remained to chill my aching breast.
Thus Hope's fantastic visions disappear,
Her brightest prospects vanish in a Tear !
Wild shadowy forms, that on yon frowning steep^
Wrapped in the sable robe of darkness, dwell.
Raise ye the plaintive notes that softly swell
In the light breeze that lingers o*er the deep I
Is it the pow^erful magic of the mind
That frames the sounds that seem to meet mineear ?
Or say, do Bards and Druids, wandering here,
Pour their strange songs upon the passing wind?
Fancy! thou wild enthusiast, if thy spell
Alone awake the strains of ages past,
Still let me hear thy visionary shell.
In solemn sweetness join the midnight blast:
And still when deepening shadesyon mountain shroud
Bid heroes ride sublime amid the passing cloud.
EDMUND AND BERTHA,
Where Snowdon*s bleak summits their shadows
Once the castle of Mod red arose ;
Frowning dark as the mountain that towered at
The rage of the tempest or war it defied,
Sternly mocking its impotent foes.
Far below, in the humblest simplicity drest,
A lone cottage appeared in the dell ;
Yet the dwelling so lowly could boast of a guest.
Who a passion had kindled in Modred's fierce breast,
Which his pride vainly strove to repel.
In the gay crowded city in vain would ye seek
Than Bertha, a more lovely maid ;
The clear rose of health brightly glowed on her
While her eyes* radiant beams with true eloquence
And of lover's fond gaze seem afraid.
But no answering fondness his love did repay,
Bertha listened with scorn to his tale ;
'Twas for Edmund she sighed, ah ! how longseemed
When the toils of the hunter had called him away.
Till at eve he returned to the vale.
For affection still prompted the soft-heaving sigh.
And to both its enchantments were dear;
'Twas love spoke ia the glance of his soul beaming
The blood was seen mantling, her cheek painted
When his voice or his name met her ear.
But the magic dissolves at his country's command.
Though its claims gentle Bertha withstood.
Lo ! the banner of Edward waves dark o'er the land.
And the genius of Cambria bows to that hand
Which is stained with her sons' dearest blood.
And could Edmund remain in inglorious repose?
No — the morrow will see him depart :
Soon the spear and the shield of the warrior he chose.
While his blood's crimson current more rapidly flow»
' As bright visions of fame filled his heart.
Dreams he oft had indulged, whilst unheeded fle\r
'Midst the mountain's wild scenery thrown,
Nursed in Nature's deep soHtude, nought could
That spirit, which grasping achievements sublime,
. Courts by deeds of high daring, renown.
What awakened sensations so keenly refined?
The soft voice of Love could it be ?
No — thebrightflashofgloryinflaraed his proud mind,
Bade it spurn the base chain which Oppression
Round the soul Nature formed to be free.
Wealth or power in his bosom no wish could inspire,
He sought not the splendor they give j
But for glory he sighed, 'twas his only desire,
And he felt in the blaze he would rather expire.
Than in humble security live.
" Let honour," he cried, " but distinguish my name^
'* And when life's fleeting moments are o'er,
" May for ever it shine in the annals of fame,
" Let heroes unborn its record inflame
" Bright and lasting, till time is no more."
H^ ceased, for a tear hung on Bertha's soft cheek
Of mingled resentment and love;
" Are my claims then," she cried, " are thy vows
" then so weak !
" Other praises than mine art thou eager to
" And oh ! far from my cottage to rove .'
" Ah! how trifling this pageant of glory appears,
" True bliss it can never impart ;
" Tis domestic aflfection our being endears,
" With tremulous lustre it shines through the tears
" Which rise gentle and pure from the heart.
" And have then for thee these emotions no
" charms ?
" Then go, and may conquest be thine ;
" Yet at eve when I meet thee, oh I throw ij
" those arms,
" The fierce pomp of war fills my breast with
" In the hunter's green vest thou art mine/'
How destructive that wish to the ill-fated pair!
For concealed by the rock where they stood,
Dark Modred had heard it, and vowed in despair,
That the bright star of love, which then glittered
Should be quickly extinguished in blood.
Soon he chose from his vassals the murderous band
Commissioned to strike the dire blow;
For he shrunk from the danger he yet dared com-
Bold only in planning that death which his hand
Wanted courage to deal to his foe.
" When the shadows of evening shall rest on the
I " main,
" And its blue mists the mountain tops shroud,
" You will see them,'* he cried, " as they meet on
" the plain ; '
'' Then let vengeance be mine; when the peasant ia
" Let the horn be thrice sounded aloud."
Wan and pale rose the moon o'er the mountain of
Shrilly whistled the wind o'er the heath;
Modred listens appalled — soon the wild shriek of woe
With the hollow blast mingles, then sinks moan-
Whilst the horn gives the signal of death.
" Tis done," he exclaimed, " and the victim is
" My vassals obey my command."
But what fear shook his frame, when the soul-
The shrill blast of the horn was thrice echoed around !
And the cold grasp of death chilled his hand.
With terror he turned, and strange fear seized his
When he saw, by the moon's streaming light,
Pale and bleeding the form he had learned to detest.
Young Edmund arrayed in the hunter's green vest,
And the maid at his side robed in white.
J'or a moment he gazed, fixed with maddening
The life-stream froze fast round his heart; .
Then, starting in horror, he flies from the sight,
While behind a dark cloud the moon curtained her
And no ray to his path would impart.
Now storms rock the mountain; his heart shook
No courage his bosom inspires;
For joined with the thunder that bursts o'er his head,
Strange voices are heard, while the shades of the
Dimly glide through the lightning's pale fires.
In vain would he fly — still the vision pursues ;
Still he hears the wan spectres complain ;
From the rock's rugged cliff the wide ocean he views,
And each terror-fraught image determined to lose,
Fiercely plunged in the wild roaring main.
Horror broods o'er the spot where lies buried his
Rending tempests still vex the white wave ;
Wild it foams o'er the breast which no pity could
While spirits, unblest, in the pause of the storm,
Howl loud o'er the murderer's grave.
When life's first dawn breaks on the raptured view,
And smiles each various scene so bright and new,
The Passions, thronging round the youthful heart.
Their glowing visions to the soul impart :
Nor dream we once that guests so sweet and fair,
Like smiling foes, such deadly poisons bear :
Their fatal gifts the bosom's peace destroy.
Though soft they breathe of harmony and joy.
When salient founts bade Eden's blossoms blow.
Did lovelier flowrets on their borders grow
Than bloomed in that gay wreath Affection wove.
To bind the heart in links of social love?
But ah ! how oft the mournful circlet waves
Its withering honours o'er untimely graves !
No star that trembles in the evening sky
Beams half so soft as Pity's meUing eye,
When meek that eye in dewy lustre shone
For other's griefs, but ne'er had wept its own.
Enraptured Joy the imaged future gave,
Bright as the sunbeam on the western wave ;
His shadowy world a new Elysium grew,
And smiling Hope affirmed the vision true.
False flattering vision ! — promise given in vain.
The looked-for pleasure changes into pain:
Not faster fade the rosy tints of day
That streak the folds of twilight's mantle grey.
Ah ! then no more to Joy my strains belong,
A milder influence claims my votive song :
Thee, gentlest Melancholy ! thee, I hail,
And woo to wrap me in that sable veil
Which shuts life's sunny pictures from the view,
Deceitful pictures 1 — fair, but never true.
Yet wilt thou listen to so mean a lay,
When witching numbers once invoked thy sway ?
And he, whose loftier themes were high and holy,
Has sung the '^ pensive nun," sweet Melancholy?
Not mine such power as his, whose strain divine
In chastened lustre gave thy charms to shine;
What time thou ledd'st him to the twilight grove.
Where Philomel poured soft her song of love,
With warblings sweet she hailed the western star;
But oh ! her Poet's notes were sweeter far.
To him, though this low world was hid in night,
Clear shone the beam of intellectual light;
O'er the rapt Bard, as slow he struck the lyre,
High Inspiration flashed Promethean fire;
The beamy splendours wreathed the laurel bough,
And shed a dazzling glory round his brow.
I WOO thee, Nymph, to wake the plaintive measure
That tells of feelings sad the mournful pleasure;
To sing of Knights, who for their Lady's grace
In Fame's proud record won distinguished place :
Ahj vainly won — when soon in mingled hreath
Sound glory's hymns and the low dirge of death.
Or bear me with thee, when pale Cynthia shrouds
Her crescent dim in veil of silvery clouds,
To cypress shades, through whose long vista seen
The tombstones whiten o'er some village green ;
There she, who saw her early love expire,
Still cherishes Affection's vestal fire.
Bids the pale splendor her sad path illume,
And hails the ray, though bursting from the tomb.
There bends the wretched mother o'er the grave
Of her whom long she fondly sought to save:
Hers is no frenzied shriek of anguish wild;
With lilies fair she strews her fairer child ;
And calm though sad breathes in high Mercy's ear
The soul's lament, which only Heaven should hear.
When from some distant rock the beacon's light
Gleams a faint star to crown the brow of night,
Oft let me meet thee on the lonely shore.
Where gathering tempests threat with sullen roar ;
And flitting sea-birds shriek with feeble cry,
Scared by the lurid red that streaks the western sky.
Or when the blast of Autumn, sweeping low,
In fitful moanings seems to speak of woe.
Deep musing let me list the cadence sweet
Of dashing waters, murmuring at my feet;
Or sound of that sweet harp, whose magic tone
Seems the soft music of a world unknown.
Oh ! I could dream, that Bards of other days
Joined its wild melody with solemn lays;
That on the breeze their thrilling vespers flow,
Or angel voices mourn for mortal woe.
And let the muse of Tragedy be nigh,
With tresses loose, and spirit-beaming eye;
Her veil dark waving o'er her snowy breast,
Her tearful glance to pitying Heaven addrest.
Hers be the soul- fraught strain, with fear that awes,
Or wakes a gentler throb in Pity's cause ;
When Basil, who could war and death defy,
Falls by the witching glance from Beauty's eye.
Nor mourn we more the gallant hero lost
Than Montford — by Hate's fiercest tempest tost;
Scarce soothed by her, in whom each grace combiaed
That purest image of a heavenly mind.
The high-souled sister, whom Affection led
To watch beside the dying murderer's bed.
With seraph sweetness bid his frenzy cease,
And to his parting spirit whisper peace. ®
Oh Melancholy ! whilst such power is thine
To sooth the mind, to soften, to refine,
Ne'er let me quit thy soul-ennobling themes
For Mirth's lightlaugh,or Pleasure's gayest dreams :
To other hearts let frolic Joy be dear,
I love thy pensive smile, soft mingling with a tear.
When fell Oppression o'er the dearth
Her iron sceptre waved with fearful sway,
To thee, dread power of War, the fiend gave birth,
To thee, who marked with gore her desolated way ^
Revenge thy sire, whose furious hand.
As Discord tossed aloft her flaming brand,
Struck at the breast that gave thee life ;
His glittering dagger drank her blood.
Whilst thou, amid th' unhallowed strife.
With eager lip imbibed the sanguine flood.
Infuriate War ! what hand shall dare
To trace the horrors of thy way f
No radiant beam from heaven is there,
To mark the track with lucid ray,
But storms and tempests round thee wait ;
Thy dire artillery, big with fate,
Spread with thick; sulphureous breath
" Darkness that may be felt" — a fearful night.
Though streaked awhile with sudden light.
The fatal harbinger of death.
0*er thee no anxious mother fondly hung,
For thee no soothing lullabies were sung ;
But wildly did the hoarse winds sweep
In mournful cadence round the steep,
Where Furies rocked thee in their horrid arms.
Nourished with blood, thy desperate rage
Would from the lion rend his prey,
Or deadly battle furious wage
When the gaunt tyger crossed thy way ;
And the deep roarings, that at evening's close
Render the savage wilderness so drear.
Chilling the fear-struck traveller as he goes,
Were sounds most grateful to thy infant ear :
For then thou hadst not learned with blasting breath,
From the shrill trumpet's brazen throat.
To wake the loud, the maddening note,
That calls devoted man to fields of death.
Ere thou, the world's dread scourge, wert born,
When smiling Peace still held- her gentle reign.
Then flowers and fruits profuse from Plenty's horn
Shed their rich honours on the verdant plain.
Then man a tranquil shelter found,
(The idle toils of greatness scorning,)
Where fragrant roses strewed the grounc},
Wet with the dew of early morning.
There the mother, sweetly smiling,
Hushed her infant to repose;
And Hope, the pains of Age beguiling.
Bade life's sabbath calmly close.
Then was the Golden Age below^
Then Echo learned her sweetest strain,
Responsive to the lover's pain,
Who breathed in softest sounds his fancied woe.
But ah ! too soon thy giant form
Was dimly seen amid the storm ;
Thy red arm o'er the prostrate world
The ensign dire of death unfurled;
The deep-toned drums thy swift approach declare-
Loud, loud the echoing rocks among.
Groans, and the clang of arms around,
. Answered to the trumpet's sound,
Whilst birds, ill-omened, hover in the air,,
And shriek the fated victim's funeral son^
Yet not for ever round thy way
Demons, foes to man, attend ;
Since ruthless Fate full many a day
Hath bid him hail thee as a friend.
By thee the hardy Warrior of the north
Snatched from the Tyrant's head his bloody crown.
When Sweden bade her patriot sons go forth,
To win with him the meed of high renown.
Thee, 'mid Helvetia's rocks, her gallant band
Did once with solemn firmness sternly hail.
When Liberty aloft with dauntless hand
Waved her white banner to the mountain gale.
Thee too, in later limes, did man invoke.
Though not with like success, when grasping Pride,
And fell Ambition, with remorseless stroke,
Bade a whole kingdom fall — a realm divide.
♦ Hero of Poland, whose illustrious name
In future times shall honoured be.
And raise, perchance, to emulate thy fame.
With happier fortunes blest, a chief hke thee ;
Like thine, the warrior's dauntless soul
May brave Oppression's fierce control.
And bid thy bleeding country yet be free.
But not in vain thy toil and pain.
Thy sun of glory beams afar;
While sad, though low, the shriek of woe
Pursues the conqueror's gaudy car.
No nation's grateful tears shall e'er bedew
The blood-stained wreath, that decks the victor's
Unlike the deathless meed, which, gained by you.
Shames all the laurels Conquest can bestow.
From Ether's plains, where shines thy starry throne,
Fancy, fair queen of song, on earth descend!
To me thy potent spells. Enchantress, lend,
And deck with flowers a verse that's all thine own.
Tis thine, when Genius darts his lightning ray,
And flashes o'er the soul a nobler day ;
'Tis thine to bid the poet's strain
Pour its soft melody along ;
The countless shades that form thy train
Can deathless make his varied song.
To thee belongs the soul of fire.
To thee its grand, its boundless views ;
Thou ruFst the magic of the lyre,
And a|l th' enchantments of the muse.
When yon bright sun, with vivid glow,
Pierces the clouds that dimmed his light,
Swift o'er the heavens the radiant bow
Streams with a thousand colours bright.
Nor is a power less high, less potent, thine.
Nor less illusive splendors round thee live ;
Through falling tears thou bid'st the future shine,
Fair with each smiling grace that Hope can give.
Blest Power ! each mortal heart can speak
The charm that dwells with thee ;
Vainly thy cherished dreams we seek
In cold reality.
Ah no !— from youth's gay hand she tears
Each flower that in her path she sought to strew,
And gives the cypress branch, or baleful yew,
Fit emblems of her own corroding cares.
Chilled by her breath expires the dream of Fame,
That many a dreary hour had force to cheer ;
E'en holy Inspiration's sacred flame.
Extinguished, fades in Sorrow's frequent tear.
As swiftly through the turbid cloud
The Meteor darts its blazing light.
Illumined by the passing beam,
The dark and gloomy shades of Night
With momentary brightness gleam ;
So Fancy's smile — her brilliant ray
Can chase the ills of life away.
And wrap its sorrows in Oblivion's shroud.
Ah ! then to thee, to thee I fly,
Thy glittering prospects all are fair ;
Unclouded lustre decks thy sky,
And Hope and Peace dwell ever there.
Soft twilight bathes in pearly dew
Yon crimson-tinted rose,
And fresher to the gazer's view
The blushing flowret blows.
But ah! when passion's burning tears
The bosom's anguish speak,
How pale the living rose appears
That glowed on beauty's cheek.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UBRARY